Monday, 30 August 2010

Oh this is so good!!!!

Following my posting yesterday linking to an old Shorpy related posting, I have found (a) a colourised version of the Thisbe photograph and (b) EVEN BETTER! who she was. The rabbit is feeling rather pleased with his detective work. It's a good story.

Her name was Florence Evelyn Nesbit (December 25, 1884 – January 17, 1967) and she had an unhappy and rather dramatic life. She was an artists' model and chorus girl and was involved in the 'murder of the century'. It seems that she had a certain fame - or at least notoriety but I confess I'd never heard of her. It goes something like this....

When she was 16 she and her widowed mother moved to New York from Pennsylvania. She was able to keep her impoverished family as an artists model and later - through her chorus girl activities - met architect Stanford White. She was then 16 or 17 and he was about 48 and a notorious womaniser. Bizarrely, White kept a velvet swing and derived sexual pleasure from pushing naked or near naked young women on it. As one does. He eventually took her virginity after an episode involving a yellow kimono and a lot of champagne.

White then moved on to the seduction of other young virgins and the young John Barrymore wanted to marry Nesbit but she turned him down. At 20 she married a man called Harry Kendall Thaw. He was a wealthy cocaine addict and alleged sadist who was obsessively possessive of Nesbit and fixated on her relationship with White. One evening in 1906, Nesbit and Thaw ran into White. While at the theatre and during the song 'I Could Love A Million Girls' - nice touch that - Thaw fired three shots at close range into White's face, killing him instantly and reportedly exclaiming 'you'll never go out with that woman again'. Well he wouldn't really, would he? He being dead that is.

Nesbit testified for Thaw in his murder trial. He was acquitted but she never received a penny of the million she was evidently offered as a divorce settlement. Thaw was put in an asylum but escaped to Canada, was extradited back to the US but basically let go of by the authorities.

Oh and there was a Spiritualist aspect to his defence to murder. Thaw stated that his urge to kill had come from a mysterious force outside of his body. Namely, that he was possessed by the spirits of the dead. The claim was supported by a doctor of medicine and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science named Dr. Carl Wickland. The Chicago doctor’s wife was a proponent of Spiritualism and a professed medium. Three weeks after Thaw’s arrest, Mrs. Wickland insisted that a spirit voice came through her during a séance and confessed that it had forced Thaw to kill Stanford White! The spirit told the group gathered in the séance room that 'I killed Stanford White. He deserved death. He had trifled too long with our daughters'.

Um righty. The rabbit wouldn't fancy running that one as a defence.

And Nesbit? Her career was at best modestly successful. She remarried and had one son. She made a number of suicide attempts and suffered from addictions to alcohol and morphine. She died aged 82 as above.

I never expected to find out this. A sad but fascinating story. It was even made into a film in 1955. I never imagined I would find out who the pretty young woman was, or what an amazing story was in the background. Now I head off for Essex. Court work tomorrow. Here she is again.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Shelly and Jezebel mostly...

Just a short blog today - things to do! I have mentioned before how great the old photos blog Shorpy is (link to left). Check it out! As a taster and pinched from Shorpy is a photograph from 1922 entitled Shelly and Jezebel. No prizes for guessing which is which. At least neither is in a bin. I have blogged after raiding Shorpy once or twice before, including on a photograph from about 1900 of a strikingly beautiful young woman, pointing out rather ruefully that she would be about 130 now. So it goes.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Best of British - Gurning and Basil Brush...

I don't quite know why gurning came to mind but it did. For oversaeas readers, gurning is the gentle art of competitive face pulling. Gurning is an held annually at the Egremont Crab Fair. The fair dates back to Royal Charter in 1267 but gurning is probably of more recent (if still pretty ancient) origin. Gurning is properly done through a horse collar as can be seen below. Interesting to note that advertising even creeps onto the horse collar. Some sponsors have no shame.

The above is ten time World Gurning Champion Tommy Mattison by the way. The motto of the World Gurning Championship is 'proud to be ugly'. Ermmm.. Quite so.

Urban Dictionary tells me that gurning is 'the muscle tension in the face that usually ends up with the jaw and tongue rolling and teeth grinding as a result of amphetamines' though I have no doubt that the above gentlemen are doing what they are - erm - doing without chemical assistance. And yes women can compete too. Here is the BBC's Michaela Strachan who entered the ladies' gurning competition for fun and somewhat embarrassingly won it...

Only In England... Below is a person named Gary Neville, He plays for a football club known as Man Ure (right in red satan shirt). He is not gurning. He really looks like that...

As a parting shot and following a comment to Tony on the last posting, here is seventies cult glove puppet Basil Brush entertaining the children. Take a look. He was a gem...

Oh and here is Part 2

Oh and with Hat Tip to Jailhouse Lawyer, try this one for weird. Must be a Welsh thing.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The most famous cat in England...

This posting is primarily for overseas readers as there can't be a single person (well maybe the odd contemplative monk) in the British Isles who doesn't know this story by now. The clip above shows a middle aged woman walking down the pavement in a residential street in Coventry. A cat approaches her and hops into the wall. She strokes it and then looks over her shoulder. An evil plot is being hatched in her mind. She lifts the bin lid and seizes the cat by the scruff of the neck and deposits her (name of Lola and aged 4) in the bin. The cat was trapped in the bin for 15 hours on a hot day and without food or drink until found by her owner, a Mr Mann, 'terrified and covered in her own mess'. Poor Lola is a rescue cat. In an attempt to find the miscreant, Mr and Mrs Mann put the above CCTV footage on YouTube (422,629 hits and rising).

A facebook group (5,000+ members) was set up to help identify the woman. She was duly identified and her address and home telephone number is on the internet. She has become a hate object of the type unseen since the expiry of the late Myra Hindley and is presently under police protection. She lives in Rugby and works in a bank. A virtual storm is working up in cyberspace. 'Boycott the bank this evil woman works in, hope she gets the sack' announces Jack from Ashford on the Daily Mail (what else) website (the rabbit is of the opinion that the bank she works in - the Royal Bank of Scotland - should be boycotted anyway as incompetent, greedy tossers). PhantomAct counters on YouTube 'Am a dog person. From my experience, people who like cats are most likely to betray you or stab you in the back. Most evil guys in movies had cats. See! So she did something good'.


The miscreant, named Mary Bale (45), has now spoken to her less than adoring public. 'I don't know what came over me, but I suddenly thought it would be funny to put it in the wheelie bin, which was right beside me' she helpfully explains. 'I did it as a joke...I never thought it would be trapped. I expected it to wriggle out of the bin' our non-heroine elaborated. These pronouncements seem to contravene the rule 'if you are in a hole (as opposed to bin) stop digging' as is her comment 'I don't know what the fuss is about, it's just a cat'. The police and RSPCA want to have a word, but this is the least of Ms Bale's problems as may be gathered from the following facebook comments:

'She should come clean and put her hands up, and APOLOGISE to the owners, then we can skin her'.

'I hope the evil cow tops herself '

'Iwant to put a vigilante mask on and beat the crap out of her and dump HER in a bin'

'If you see her go and punch her in the face!'

'God help them if the Stoke lynch mob get to them first'

I'm not sure who the 'them' referred to in the last quote are, but the Stoke lynch mob sounds an unattractive prospect.

Meanwhile the cartoonists have been busy (Hat Tip to Frank Davis for quotes and cartoon) ...

The rabbit will now sit back and duck. But two thoughts arise. One, Mary Bale's mistake (well she made a series but bear with me) was to perpetrate this misdeed in August when there is a dearth of proper news. The media were very quickly all over the story like a rash. Ms Bale has no doubt discovered that there are disadvantages to the Warhol fifteen minutes fame. Secondly, albeit that the rabbit (who is fond of cats and has lived with at least one most of his life) accepts that she did a cruel and stupid thing, there is something deeply unattractive about the baying lynch mob in Orwellian 'two minutes hate' mode. By way of reassurance, here is Lola, safely restored to the loving arms of Mr Mann.

Okay - the temptation is irresistible...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Film review time...

The rabbit has been to the cinema on two consecutive Saturdays. The first cinematic excursion was to see the latest Leonardo Di Caprio vehicle, Inception. Here follows a short rabbit review:
Don't. Bother. It's. Bollocks.
Trust this clarifies matters.
I had wondered if it was a generational thing, but the rabbit's companions for the evening included a 23 year old and he was bored by it too. The rabbit managed to fall asleep half way through the film, which was quite an achievement as it is noisy in the extreme.
The rabbit was a bit slow out of the blocks in catching his second cinema experience last Saturday, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This film is not bollocks. It is about as unbollocks as you can get. The still above is the splendidly named Noomi Rapace as the tattoed one. The film is in Swedish and is with subtitles. It doesn't matter. By way of brief background, the film is adapted from the first of a trilogy of crime novels by Stieg Larsson who died aged 50 in 2004 having left behind three completed but unpublished manuscripts. Of course they were published posthumously and were a huge commercial success. Unsurprisingly an ugly brawl over his estate arose but that's by the by. I'm told by someone that the book of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is better than the film. In which case it must be seriously good. I shall investigate.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (film version) was a huge success in continental Europe before being released in England in (I think) March so the rabbit was abit slow out of the blocks as regards seeing it in the cinema. The second and third parts of the trilogy have already been filmed and, after testing the waters with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the second part of the trilogy The Girl Who Played With Fire is about to be released. A slightly (and unfairly) sniffy review in the Guardian summarises the film as 'a forensic procedural with explicit violence, sex, sexual violence, violent sex and crime-scene photos of the sort that were once never shown, then just glimpsed and now blandly (sic) lingered over in every detail' It's - well - forensic and maybe the rabbit's work hardens him to the kind of thing complained of but - although violence against women is a difficult subject for fiction - this is a work of high quality and merits more than the kind of approach exemplified in the quote.
So as a non-spoiling (go and see it!) summary, the plot goes something like this: Michael Blomkvist is a reporter facing jail time (wrongfully) for criminal libel. He is hired by a wealthy industrialist to solve the mystery of a niece who disappeared, presumed murdered, in 1966. By a somewhat contrived device, Blomkvist was babysat by the missing niece. He sets about investigating the seemingly impenetrable mystery of the niece's disappearnce and uncovers a string of hate crimes, teams up with an emotionally troubled but beautiful computer hacker called Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace), the tattooed girl of the title. As to the rest, as I said, go see it.
To totally change the mood and because it came to mind, here is the Beach Boys' Surfer Girl - a summery sound for a summer that, at least here, started off very promisingly but failed to really deliver. And now there's not much more left of it. Almost time to get out the raincoats.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Haggis munching ginger bastards...

Here is disproof of the scurrilous suggestion by Charon (link to left) that this blog does not do law. It does plenty as will be gleaned by the following. Above is Mr Amir. As can be seen he is in handcuffs and is plainly not a happy bunny having been on the receiving end of the criminal - erm - law. Our man was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend and appeared at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday (for the geographically challenged, Aberdeen is in Scotland - this is relevant). He made the news for what he said to police on arrest, namely 'I'm going to kill twenty of you and blow you to bits. Fuck you, you haggis-munching ginger bastards. I'm going to bomb you white fuckers'.

How impolite! The phrase 'haggis munching ginger bastards' caught the attention of the media. Amir got a total of 18 months in the nick for assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to stab a taxi driver.

It was said in mitigation that he had difficulties with anger management. Erm..... Quite so. It's not quite clear to me whether the gingerist outburst constituted a seperate racially aggravated offence but if it did, I have to say it is a bit over the top. The Scottish executive pronounced primly 'there is no place for racism in Scotland. It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated'. Especially of the gingerist variety.

Above is a haggis that has been knifed to death - note the murder weapon still lodged in the unfortunate deceased haggis. It is about to be eaten by Scottish persons.

On a more sombre note, there is a sad story in the papers today that the British Transport police have released sketches of twenty of the unclaimed dead persons whose bodies have been found on the rail network or London underground. Above are three of the sketches. Most were hit by trains and there a total of 44 unidentiofied bodies from recent decades. It just struck me as terribly sad that someone meets their end - whether by suicide or accident - and no-one comes forward to claim them. Or even to help to identify them. La vie c'est triste - at least sometimes.

More cheerfully - unless you are an aged rock star - la belle Catch Her in the Wry comes up with a link to then and now rock stars. Warning - anticipating complaints about the pic of the haggis looking nasty, it's got nothing on some of the aged rock stars. Click on pic of chicken pieces. I commented on Ms Wry's blog that I am constantly amazed at the fact that Keith Richards is still alive - see below - this is not good. The rabbit has just got an I-phone for the first time. Now to attempt to set it up.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A confession...

The rabbit confesses to being a bit short on inspiration today. So here is a colour test to pass the time until the muse is upon me again (actually it's pretty easy). Plus a very agile aquatic cow.

Doubleplus here's another challenge. Count the - erm - black dots.
Trebleplus - erm - quite so.

Quadrupleplus, the lovely Mona Lisa. Hat Tip to Voidspace for these fillers.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

the rabbit admits to corpsing at this plus assorted stuff

Does laughing my head off at this make me a not respectable person? Actually, who cares? Hat Tip to Sarcastic Bastard. Continuing to lower the tone, and with Hat Tip to Laci the Dog, I can only conclude that this means something completely different in the states.

Totally changing topic, I made a comment on a posting in Charon's blog about the stocks, which set in motion a chain of enquiry. There are still a few sets of stocks about in various parts of England (although it emerges that they were not an uniquely English device for ritual humilation etc) but were in use by the civil authorities from the middle ages to the early modern period. Essentially, the stocks immobilised the miscreant's feet or sometimes arms and head (technically a pillory rather than stocks) and were typically located in market places so that lots of people would be in the vicinity and could then proceed to abuse, insult or attack the unfortunate occupant. Acceptable activities included spitting, kicking, punching, urinating over, throwing rotten fruit, vegetables and eggs at and generally abusing the occupant. Deaths from heat exposure or hypothermia were far from unknown. The criminal justice system has moved on a little since the days of the stocks. The example below is in the village of Chapeltown, Lancashire.

Plus it looks like our old friend crasher squirrel is back in the hood. Hat Tip to Jailhouse Lawyer.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Walking the fish and Ponting....

There is really nothing very much happening in the middle of August. And that includes workwise. So here is a bloke taking his pet fish for a walk. As you do. Glum looking fellow, I'm sure you'll all agree (the man I mean, not the fish) Hat Tip to Wacky Archive.
Oh and Ricky Ponting (the chipmunk faced fellow below) opines that a 5-0 Ashes win (he means for Australia) this winter is 'absolutely possible' As is the danger that I may be eaten by a killer hippo in central Birmingham on my way back to the flat in a few minutes...

Women Keep Your Virtue

Informative stuff from Harry Enfield, I'm sure you'll all agree. Hat Tip to Mahal who has deserted his post feeding the rabbit with material and shoved off to Poland, also leaving this behind - an election day leaflet by Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Phil Woolas. I reproduce it without further comment. And for good measure, also from Harry Enfield is the equally informative Women, Don't Drive. Oh here is something else that amused the rabbit. Hat Tip to Wacky Archives.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The Carbuncle Cup 2010 and Daleks

The Carbuncle Cup is an annual 'competition' for the ugliest building erected in the UK in the previous year. I put the word 'competition' in inverted commas as no-one wants to win this one and the thought of so doing makes all architects whose handiwork is nominated cringe with embarrasment. But someone was to be a winner. And the winner issssssss.....

Cue minor celeb ripping open glittery envelope.

The Strata Tower at the Elephant & Castle (inner South London) , by BFLS (formerly Hamiltons) nominated by The Georgian Group for its 'plain visual grotesqueness'. It must be said that the Strata Tower (above) does indeed look pretty damn nasty. Weirdly, it looks like a Phillishave electric razor. Is this the most bizarre piece of subliminal advertising yet?

In second place comes another Inner London nomination, the 'most offensively ugly' Bézier Apartments by TP Bennett near Old Street. It does look rather like it is invading its surroundings, rather than blending in with them. Why am I thinking oversized Daleks?


Not to be outdone, Birmingham made the shortlist with The Cube by Make Architects - supposedly a 'tribute' to the city's Jewellery
Quarter. Huh?

The first three above are all very urban and private sector developments but finally, here is a piece of municipal silliness, East Ayrshire Council’s Robert Burns Memorial Centre. If it had been built a couple of hundred years earlier, it would have been described as a folly.

I mentioned Daleks above, here is the Radio Times (that's the BBC programme listings magazine overseas persons) Vote Dalek cover. It was inspired by the 2005 General Election and a new series of Doctor Who arriving at the same time. It has been voted the best magazine cover ever. Vote Dalek? Maybe we unwittingly did.

Oh and as a parting shot, take a look at the Hot Piece of Ass posting on sonia-belle - the blog with the great big muckystuff warning.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

The rabbit should get out more... opposed to finding rubbish like this on the web. Hair care for men - how to trim your nostril hair.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Diamonds, lies and videotape

Here's the latest instalment on the Charles Taylor war crimes tribunal, which has heard a load of evidence contradicting Naomi Campbell's account (see below). Mia Farrow has given evidence and confirmed that she was at the dinner party with Campbell. She was played a videotape of Naomi Campbell denying with her customary grace receiving a diamond from Taylor (see below).

'Who said the diamonds came from Charles Taylor?' Farrow was asked directly by the prosecutor. 'Naomi Campbell', she replied.


It will be recalled that Campbell admitted receiving diamonds from an anonymous doner, so everyday an occurrence for her that her curiosity as to the identity of the donor was - erm - nonexistent. Now here thing start to get shaky. Farrow is talking about one big diamond. It will be recalled that la Campbell mentioned sniffily 'two dirty stones'. And it doesn't get any better under cross-examination. She is pulled up for describing Imran Khan as a 'soccer player'. She can't remember if Taylor was at the dinner. She can't remember her own son's age. She admits to having removed the words 'if true' from an article on the allegations against Taylor which she otherwise cut and pasted for her blog.

Oh dear. Defence cross-examination has made a serious dent in her. This is what we do and sometimes there can be blood on the carpet. Farrow isn't looking good. Enter Campbell's former agent, Carole White. She volunteers details of the dinner party.

'Naomi leant back and Charles Taylor leant forward. Naomi was very excited, and told me "he's going to give me some diamonds"' White told the court.
'They were being charming to each other. Mildly flirting'. Campbell told the tribunal she didn't remember 'pacifically' (sic) speaking to Taylor at the dinner.
Campbell doesn't do pacific, as set out in previous posting on the topic.

'As I was getting ready for bed I heard some chinky noise at the window as if someone was throwing pebbles' White announced. 'We have something for Miss Campbell', she was informed. I told them to wait' she said. White told Campbell that the guys with the diamonds had come.

'She really wanted to let them in' White pronounced. 'The guys came in. I gave them a Coca-Cola each. They took out a scruffy piece of paper (complete with the diamonds). They were quite disappointing because they weren't shiny'.

One can imagine the disappointment. White said there were 5 or 6 diamonds. This contradicts Campbell (variously two or three) and Farrow (one big diamond, except Farrow didn't see the haul)

As per usual, things take a turn for the worse in cross-examination. White's staff ahve been posting pictures (see above) of a 'blood diamond party' over facebook. White was at the party but doesn't know anything about that. The party was to do with the purchase of a house for models. I must say I don't particularly buy this line of attack. It's not White's facebook page, it' someone else's. Why would she know about it? Her staff seem badly disposed to Campbell but this is no surprise (see tricky bit below)

Here's the tricky bit: White has a legal claim against Campbell worth around £600,000. 'You have a powerful motive to lie about her' pronounces Courtenay Griffiths (Taylor's counsel). Hmmm...

Not sure I buy that one either in the context. 'Would you have had an opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela, were it not for Miss Campbell?' Griffiths then asks.

Double Hmmm.... That's a bit thin in the rabbit's opinion. What does it go to? My overall impression is that Mia Farrow emerged from cross-examination looking somewhat flaky, White less so but she always had the problem that she is in litigation against Campbell and was always going to get a kicking in cross-examination on the topic. In the meantime, this procession of gruesome gargoyles gets all the attention. It tends to be forgotten that there are a hundred thousand dead and many, many amputees at the bottom of this story.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Sorry to bang on about the Israel/Palestine thing again but this pisses me off...

The above clip is a five year old Palestinian boy's reaction to his father being arrested. His father's 'crime'? 'Stealing' water. The area has been identified as appearing to be south of Hebron where the Israeli authorities have consistently refused to supply running water to Palestinian homes. And then arrest them for 'stealing' it. Hat Tip to Charlie Pottins.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Boulder to Birmingham and - erm - Birmingham

Yesterday's posting led to JoJo posting the lyrics of Birmingham Blues by ELO. Which in turm led my mind to ruminating about other songs with Birmingham in the title. Which led to Emmylou Harris and Boulder to Birmingham. Different Birmingham but no matter. Her voice is sumptuous and she is also seriously beautiful. The rabbit has been smitten for many a year. She was in love with Gram Parsons. He was in love with heroin mostly. All a stupid waste.

I'm reading a book by rock journalist Nick Kent called Apathy for the Devil at the moment. I've nearly posted a review for it before finishing the book! Yes, it is that good. Watch this space. But he does tell a story of Gram Parsons turning up for a Rolling Stones concert but being so stoned that he blundered into a nearby cinema instead.

Then of course there is Randy Newman's Birmingham (different Birmingham again) from the wonderful Rednecks album. Like so...

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Saturday lunchtime in Birmingham...

I'm not at all sure of what I think of blogging as diary but I seem to be doing it increasingly. I have now lived in Birmingham for just over a year. I like it well enough - better than I expected - but don't anticipate remaining here forever. My roots and my fractured family are elsewhere. But it is okay for now.

Here is a verbal picture of Saturday lunchtime in central Birmingham, I start by going to buy a newspaper. The asian guy behind the till asks about my Barcelona shirt. Can I spell Barcelona? he asks. I demonstrate that I can to his satisfaction. Why not support an English team? he asks. I say that I do. I then give him a lecture on the Spanish civil war, Catalonia and anti-fascism. He looks as if he wished he hadn't bothered asking. I move on before I am in danger of launching off about Orwell for good measure.

On the subject of football shirts, most shirts seen in the street are Birmingham City as opposed to Aston Villa ones. The average working class Brummie is a bluenose (for overseas readers and the footballingly challenged, a bluenose is a person who supports a team who play in blue - as Birmingham City do). Villa is seen as regional and aspirational and nothing much to do with the average working class Brummie, I think.

I live just round the corner from the Birmingham Hippodrome . I haven't been to see anything there yet - basically because there hasn't been anything I have wanted to see. I can pass on Connie Lingus - sorry Fisher and The Sound of Music, thank you. But today there is street theatre on the pavement outside. The street theatre involves young women with hula hoops and loud music. A street person makes his way unsteadily toward the entertainment, can in hand. He is grinning broadly and attempting to gyrate his hips as if in possession of an invisible hula hoop. I move on. I pass through the Bullring, which is at the corner of High Street and New Street and has apparently been a market since the middle ages. Now it is the point where a collection of shopping malls intersect. Children climb all over the Bullring bull (above) and love to be photographed on it. I head down the High Street.

As usual there are stalls. One has a large display of Korans (or more accurately Qur'ans) on some sort of Muslim evangelical foray. There is often a street evangelist here as well (but not today). I once saw the street evangelist launch into a pair of asian men who were wandering about minding their own business. 'You muslims' he announced. 'You are all murderers! You can only be saved from your sins by the blood of Jesus Christ!' I reflected that he was plainly not getting the hang of the inter-faith dialogue thing and moved very rapidly out of the way. I expect he got away with it, though. He is one seriously big guy.

Next to the man with the Qur'ans is the Socialist Workers Party. As always, as well as a stall they have a megaphone and a petition. The petition is in relation to the Tory cuts. Unsurprisingly, they are against them. The Hippodrome street theatre has a second spot on the High Street today. It appears to involve people dressed as kangaroos on this location. I move briskly past them and the guys selling great fistfuls of inflatable novelty items.

Then on to my weekly treat - fish and chips at John's Fish bar, a place I never go in on a weekday because it is right by the courts and full of clients. They serve a reasonably modest portion for £1.90. This is a bargain. They have a thing about chips round hereabouts (that's fries to American readers). A very kind friend put me up in these parts on and off for much of the first half of last year. One night he suggested fish and chips for dinner. I agreed. We went in the fish and chip shop...

'Two fish and one large chips' he said. 'I have a weakness for chips' I announced, not at all sure that one large portion would be enough for two.

'Just watch' he replied.

The guy shovelled about three large scoops onto the wrapping paper. Then he paused momentarily. Then he shovelled another couple of large scoops. Then he paused again to admire his handiwork. Then he shovelled on another scoop. And then another. Then he finally decided that perhaps the accumulated chip mountain would be sufficient unto our needs. Two of us could not finish the chip mountain between us and the rest was fed to the deer on Cannock Chase. Deer like chips, it emerges. Tonight I'm off to somewhere in Warwickshire for dinner. here is some helpful stuff on hula hooping.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Naomi Campbell...

It will have escaped the attention of almost everyone until very recently that there is a War Crimes Tribunal going on at The Hague where the defendant is former Liberian President Charles Taylor. The fact that 100,000 people were murdered at the behest of this person, not to mention the mutilations and acts of cannibalism (apparently there was an incentive bonus of a 200 pack of cigarettes for the cannibalism thing) is apparently not very newsworthy.

Sorry, I forgot the 'allegedly'.


Until now. Naomi Campbell gave evidence before the Tribunal yesterday. She was not best pleased to do so and attended under a witness summons. It was, she announced, an 'inconvenience'. This is to be contrasted with the plainly lesser inconvenience suffered by Taylors 100,000 victims. Allegedly. For why was she there? Well in 1997 la Campbell attended a dinner hosted by Nelson Mandela. The pic above records the happy event. From left to right we have Jemima Khan, Imran Khan, la Campbell, Taylor, Mandela, Graca Machel, Blah, Blah, Mia Farrow and Blah. The happy event was something to do with something called the Blue Train but that's by the by.

Imagine our heroine's surprise when woken in the middle of the night after the dinner by two men at her door. She said they offered her a pouch and said it was a gift for her. And that was it. It contained uncut diamonds. This is important in the trial of Taylor as the prosecution want to show that he was involved with 'blood diamonds' (so called for the obvious reason). If the diamonds presented at our Naomi's door came from Taylor then there is powerful evidence linking him to the blood diamond trade. Campbell failed to oblige as is explained below and the case against Taylor was not advanced in this imnportant respect. The prosecution applied to have her treated as hostile. Courtenay Griffiths QC defending Taylor waxed indignant. The prosecution application failed but back to the main story.

Well, I said imagine our heroine's surprise when presented with the diamonds at three in the morning (or whenever it was). There was none, she announced. Her curiosity at this event was - well - nonexistent. It certainly did not run to asking the presenters of this gift who it was who was actually sending her the diamonds. Well you wouldn't, would you? Especially when the kind of event described was pretty much an everyday occurrence. Where Mia Farrow got the idea that Campbell told her the next morning that the men had said the diamonds came from Taylor remains a mystery. Presumably Farrow was hallucinating this conversation. It's the only explanation. Campbell helpfully further explained that she gets 'gifts all the time. Sometimes in the middle of the night without knowing who they are from'. Of course she does. Who could doubt it?

The case continues. I should say that our heroine is not unacquainted with the courts. Basically for hitting people. Any suggestion that she is low life is of course to be deprecated. Here she is modelling a particularly fetching community service smock after one of her court appearances.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

The Shire Hall and throwing stones...

Only time for a very quick blog, I'm afraid. the rabbit is engaged in a trial at the Hereford Shirehall (pic above). In Court 1 at the Shirehall to be exact. The building is apparently the oldest working courthouse in England and is - cue spooky voice - haunted. Or allegedly as we say in the trade. I mention my trial being in Court 1 as that courtroom has an unique feature. On the wall is a hook where the black cap when not in - erm - use. For overseas readers the black cap was worn by the judge when passing sentence of death. The hook is still there but happily not the death penalty. Oh, and here is some more law related stuff via Charon QC - plainly after a glass. The rabbit accepts no responsibility for the attached (naturally)

I'm not sure if I've ever posted this clip of Throwing Stones (from the So Far video - now on DVD I think) before but it came to mind and merits repetition, if repetition it be. Penned by Brent Midland this must surely rate as one of their darkest songs and has visuals to match. In fact some of them test the boundaries of what is okay to put up to accompany a rock song. But have a look. There can't be many videos that feature variously, Hitler, Lenin, Nixon and Kissinger as well as a mandala, one of the windows (I forget its name) from St Peter's, Rome and some Aztec stuff - oh and Hiroshima. About 7 minutes in watch Garcia. He's plainly enjoying himself with one seriously chunky riff. At one point he growls a 'yeah!' like an old and contented bear.

Monday, 2 August 2010

CSO Manchester and Snopes

The rabbit has now hopped back from London to find the above (Hat Tip to Charon QC, jailhouselawyer and similar reprobates). By way of explanation for overseas readers PCSOs (police community support officers - abbreviated to CSOs here to the greater glory of a CSI Miami or wherever type pun) are - well - no-one quite knows what they are for. They are some sort of uniformed backup to the police but are not police and do not have police powers (or salaries, which may explain a lot) They wander about to no discernible purpose and are generally useless and - as revealed in an early White Rabbit - are often exposed to the mockery of rough fellows.

Lion Eyes TV , who the rabbit confesses to never having heard of before made the above rather splendid PCSO baiting satire. As a pilot, it works. Perhaps one of the channels (BBC4?) should run with it.

The estimable Dental Maven (link to left) has accidentally drawn my attention to - basically a website for urban myths, some actually true. Sadly untrue is the one the Maven debunks following a comment on her blog concerning a young woman suing following getting pregnant after spreading contraceptive jelly on toast. It is apparently one of the stories from one of those gloriously bonkers American papers that peddle insanely implausible 'news' stories that (sort of) entered the mainstream. If anyone wants to open a UK equivalent, I'm available for editor!

I rather like DOES GOD LIVE ON SATURN? A question to exercise all seekers after truth. I also like the story concerning a strategically placed turkey neck - an edifying note to end this posting on.